According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, it is illegal for a person to consume a sufficient amount of alcohol that renders them incapable of operating a vehicle safely. Additionally, a driver may be arrested for drunk driving if their level of impairment falls under one of Pennsylvania’s three categories for DUI. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation states that these three levels are general impairment, high BAC, and highest BAC.
Each of these three levels differs depending on blood alcohol content level. To be considered a general impairment DUI, the driver’s BAC level must be between .08 to .099. If the person’s BAC level is between .10 to .159, the DUI will be viewed as a high BAC. If the driver’s BAC level is .16 or higher, the DUI will be considered a highest BAC.
General impairment, high, and highest DUIs are associated with different penalties. For instance, if a person is arrested for a general impairment DUI and they have no prior offenses on their record, they may be required to spend six months on probation and pay a $300 fine. In comparison, a person who receives a highest DUI and has two or more offenses on their record may be required to use an ignition interlock device and spend between one to five years in prison.
However, those who caused an accident after driving intoxicated as well as, minors, bus and commercial drivers and offenders who refuse to take a blood or chemical test may be subject to the penalties for the highest DUI, regardless of what their BAC level was at the time of the arrest.